Just forty minutes of action was enough to get encouraged about Brett Hodgson’s Hull FC on Thursday night.
Five tries proved enough to see off York 28-22 in the clubs one and only pre-season friendly of 2021, with four of those coming in a slick first half performance.
Hull, who fielded a strong starting line up, didn’t take long to get going. They were well-organised, crisp and direct. Things became wayward as the changes were made after half time, but that’s what these fixtures are for. Fair play to York as well, who kept going and fought back well in the first rugby league fixture at their new ground.
For the first forty and at pretty much full tilt, Hull were impressive. The defence, baring one lapse of concentration down the right edge, was resolute and the attacking shape and structure was a threat. That’s the most encouraging thing to take away from the game; the way Hull looked to play suggested they’ll be a much more attractive team to watch this year with combinations and understandings between the most creative sorts already looking on point.
On that front the Grub showed just why he’s going to be the next big thing in our part of the world, the Snake got his assist chart up and running, and the Iceman was the glue that held everything together. Yep, make no mistake about it, the Josh Reynolds fan fare has gone up a notch already. Everything from the new Aussie number six was outstanding. Meanwhile, Marc Sneyd will continue to dictate games on his terms and Jake Connor in the fullback role is a stroke of genius. Cliches can be thrown out. Second tier opposition. Just a friendly. You know the sorts. But it is what it is. York are no mugs and with plenty of things to whet the appetite ahead of the Super League kick off in two weeks time, we can be pretty content with what we saw.
Elsewhere, towering back rower Andre Savelio was a handful. We all know the potential there if he can stay fit. It’s endless. Also impressed with the outside backs’ ability to make metres. The numbers they dish out are ridiculous and they showed no signs of letting up. You can include Miteli Vulikijapani in that too. There were a couple of moments from the on-trail Fijian winger. Chris Satae too looked the part, interestingly as a starter and not from the bench. He played a lot of minutes (being one of the most senior players on the field after the break), he put himself about both with and without the ball, and he powered over for Hull’s only second half try.
Before that first half tries came from Adam Swift, who got the nod from the off as the winger with the genuine pace option, Mahe Fonua, Carlos Tuimavave and Manu Ma’u as Hull cruised ahead.
The second half saw Hodgson mix it up, with the clubs more fringe and younger players given an opportunity to impress. There were a couple of defensive moments that could have been better handled, but credit to York who also altered their side and stayed in the contest. They got four tries themselves, three after the break, and never gave up.
All in all it was a good hit out, exactly what you want in pre-season; minutes under the belt and some things to go on. Hull got all that and more. Job done. Bring on Huddersfield.
York Starting XIII: 1. Matty Marsh, 23. Ben Jones-Bishop, 2. Jason Bass, 4. Ryan Atkins, 5. Kieran Dixon, 6. Brandan O’Hagan, 29. Riley Dean, 8. Ronan Dixon, 9. Will Jubb, 10. Jack Teanby, 12. Sam Scott, 17. Danny Kirmond, 15. Jordan Baldwinson. Interchange: 3. Liam Salter, 14. Kriss Brining, 16. Marcus Stock, 19. James Green, 21. Joe Porter, 22. Perry Whiteley, 24. Dan Barcoe, 25. AJ Towse, 26. Myles Harrison, 28. Danny Washbrook, 30. Tyme Dow-Nikau.
York Tries: Dean, Jones-Bishop, Salter, Dow-Nikau. Goals: Dixon 2/3, O’Hagan 1/1
Hull Starting XIII: 1. Jake Connor, 21. Adam Swift, 4. Josh Griffin, 3. Carlos Tuimavave, 5. Mahe Fonua, 6. Josh Reynolds, 7. Marc Sneyd, 13. Ligi Sao, 9. Danny Houghton, 10. Chris Satae, 12. Manu Ma’u, 11. Andre Savelio, 16. Jordan Lane. Interchange: 2. Bureta Faraimo, 15. Joe Cator, 17. Brad Fash, 19. Ben McNamara, 20. Jack Brown, 22. Josh Bowden, 23. Connor Wynne, 24. Cameron Scott, 26. Jude Ferreira, Jacob Hookem, Mitieli Vulikijapani.
Hull Tries: Swift, Fonua, Tuimavave, Ma’u, Satae. Goals: Sneyd 3/4. McNamara 1/1
Scoring System: 0-6, 0-12, 6-12, 6-16, 6-22, 6-28, 12-28, 16-28, 22-28
Referee: Tom Grant
Attendance: Behind Closed Doors